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THE BRIEFING FOR AUG. 28-SEPT. 11, 2014
By Joe Brancatelli
· Airlines Love It When Flyers Turn on Each Other
· Delta Adding International Flights From Salt Lake
· Cathay Pacific Goes East, Turkish Heads West
· Second-Tier China Cities Getting Western Hotels
· A Marriott Hotel in an Historic Cincinnati Building
· Air France Pilots Plan Another Five-Day Strike
· Local Food for Buffalonians at Buffalo Airport
Airlines Love It When Passengers Turn on Each Other
This week's Knee Defender incident launched a gazillion print stories, Web tirades and television debates, but not one mentioned the obvious: Airlines love it when passengers turn on each other because it diverts attention from the fact that the carriers caused the problem in the first place. Their policy of cramming extra seats in rows and slashing legroom between rows has made flying coach unbearable. That's underlined by the fact that the August 24 passenger-on-passenger confrontation took place in Economy Plus, the United Airlines extra-room section. And the problem is getting worse. There was also a reclining-seat diversion Wednesday on an American Airlines flight. Still, passengers shouldn't let airlines rob us of our dignity. If you are using your tray table for your laptop or other work, alert the flyer in the seat in front of you and ask them to warn you before they recline. And if you're about to recline your seat, give advance warning to the flyer behind you. In other words: Just because the airlines treat us like cattle is no reason for us to act like cattle.
Delta Adding More International Flights From Salt Lake City Hub
Everyone who uses Delta's Salt Lake City hub likes it: The terminals are nice, connections are fast, there are good food and beverage choices and, most importantly, Salt Lake is consistently rated the nation's most on-time airport. The only downside? Limited international connectivity. But that's changing. On December 20, Delta adds a daily nonstop to Mexico City. It will use Airbus A319s on the route. Then on May 1, Delta will connect Salt Lake City with the Amsterdam hub of its SkyTeam Alliance partner KLM. The SLC-AMS nonstop will operate five times weekly and then go daily on May 17. The seasonal service runs through October using Boeing 767-300ERs. ... JetBlue Airways continues to grow at Washington/National, where it won an auction for some of the slots freed up by the American-US Airways merger. Beginning December 18, it'll fly daily between DCA and Jacksonville, Florida. That's also the day JetBlue will also launch previously announced flights from National to both Fort Myers and West Palm Beach. ... A new Buffalo-themed restaurant, Queen City Kitchen, has opened at Buffalo airport. Queen City serves local microbrews and uses Buffalo products such as Weber's mustard and rolls from Costanzo's Bakery. ... The years-delayed Berlin-Brandenburg airport has cost Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit his job. He will resign in December, two years early, and admitted the airport scandal was part of the reason. Wowereit is also chairman of the airport's supervisory board. Berlin-Brandenburg was supposed to open in 2012, but remains in limbo and costs have risen past $6 billion.
Cathay Pacific Goes East (Boston), Turkish Goes West (SFO)
For decades, Cathay Pacific restricted its U.S. flights to gateways in San Francisco and Los Angeles. But it eventually expanded east to New York's Kennedy Airport, added Chicago in 2011 and launched Newark nonstops earlier this year. Next up: Boston. Cathay says it will launch four weekly flights to Logan on May 3. It'll operate the route with Boeing 777-300ERs configured with first, business, premium-economy and coach classes. ... Fast-growing Turkish Airlines added nonstop flights to Montreal in the spring and now it's pushing west. Effective April 13, Turkish will launch nonstops to San Francisco. The service will run five times weekly to start and go daily on May 11. Turkish will use Boeing 777-300ERs configured with business and coach classes. ... Hilton has opened a 347-room hotel in Panama City, Panama. It's just outside the city's business district in a 70-story mixed-use complex. ... American Airlines will launch daily flights to Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on October 2. The Boeing 737 service will run nonstop from Miami.
Second-Tier Chinese Cities Now Getting Western Hotels, Too
With China poised to overtake the United States as the largest business-travel market, Western hotel chains are rushing to fill in the gaps in their Chinese coverage. Hyatt, for example, has opened a 355-room Hyatt Regency in Suzhou, which is about two hours from Shanghai and widely known as the Venice of China. Meanwhile, Ritz-Carlton opened a 353-room property in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. In June, Chengdu became the third mainland China city after Beijing and Shanghai to get nonstop service from a U.S. carrier when United Airlines launched flights from San Francisco. ... After a $50 million renovation, Marriott opened a 323-room Renaissance Hotel in Cincinnati's 18-story Bartlett Building, once the tallest in Ohio. The property at 4th and Walnut Streets was designed by Daniel Burnham and known as the Union Trust Building from its opening in 1901 until the mid-1980s. ... Speaking of Marriott, it has also opened a 136-room Residence Inn in Murray, Utah, and a 150-room JW Marriott in the Piantini financial district of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. ... Starwood has opened a 138-room Element hotel in Harrison, New Jersey, about five miles from Newark Airport. ... Hilton continues to expand its limited-service brands and has opened new Home2 Suites in Long Island City in the New York borough of Queens (115 rooms) and West Edmonton, Alberta (127 rooms); Hilton Garden Inns in Falls Church, Virginia, (110 rooms) and Benton Harbor, Michigan (106 rooms); and Hampton Inns in Orange City, Iowa, (60 rooms) and Regina, Saskatchewan (102 rooms).
Business-Travel News You Need to Know
France Travelers Take Note: Another dispute between Air France and its pilots is leading to still another strike. This one is planned for September 15 to 22. The last strike action against Air France was in June. The strike is most likely to affect French domestic and intra-Europe flights. ... German travelers take note: Failure of negotiations between Lufthansa and its unions is leading to a strike tomorrow morning (August 29) at the Germanwings division. Germanwings handles intra-Europe and German domestic flights. ... If you believe anything coming out of the mouth of the Transportation Security Administration these days, the agency claims 500,000 travelers have now signed up for PreCheck. ... American Airlines extended its unaccompanied-minor fee to travelers between the ages of 12 and 14. From September 3, anyone between the ages of 5 and 14 flying alone will be subject to an additional $150 fee. ... Speaking of American Airlines, it has pulled its fares from the Web sites operated by Orbitz.com. That includes CheapTickets.com, but not Orbitz for Business. This is a fairly typical commercial dispute, a repeat of American's actions in 2011. (Friday, August 29 update: American fares are back on Orbitz sites after less than 72 hours.)
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ABOUT JOE BRANCATELLI Joe Brancatelli is a publication consultant, which means that he helps media companies start, fix and reposition newspapers, magazines and Web sites. He's also the former executive editor of Frequent Flyer and has been a consultant to or columnist for more business-travel and leisure-travel publishing operations than he can remember. He started his career as a business journalist and created JoeSentMe in the dark days after 9/11 while he was stranded in a hotel room in San Francisco. He lives on the Hudson River in the tourist town of Cold Spring.
THE FINE PRINT All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.
This column is Copyright © 2014 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2014 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.